That Evening Sun

by

William Faulkner

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on That Evening Sun can help.
Jesus, Nancy’s abusive husband, is a threatening figure throughout the story. Jesus, who carries a razor, threatens to kill the man who got Nancy pregnant, and Mr. Compson has told Jesus to stay away from the Compson’s property. Despite his violent nature, the reader does feel a small degree of sympathy for Jesus; it is clear that his resentment and anger comes from the fact that he is disenfranchised compared to the white characters in the story. When Jesus is talking to Nancy in the kitchen, he complains that “he can’t hang around a white man’s kitchen” but that a “white man can hang around his.” This suggests that Jesus is bitter about his lack of rights in society and underscores the double standards that exist for white people, who can act in ways which black people cannot.

Jesus Quotes in That Evening Sun

The That Evening Sun quotes below are all either spoken by Jesus or refer to Jesus. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Racism and Segregation Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Vintage edition of That Evening Sun published in 1995.
That Evening Sun Quotes

And then about half the time we’d have to go down the lane to Nancy’s cabin and tell her to come on and cook breakfast. We would stop at the ditch, because father told us not to have anything to do with Jesus – he was a short, black man with a razor scar down his face – and we would throw rocks at Nancy’s house until she came to the door, leaning her head around it without any clothes on.

Related Characters: Quentin Compson (speaker), Nancy , Caddy Compson, Jason Compson, Jesus, Dilsey
Related Symbols: The Ditch
Page Number: 290
Explanation and Analysis:

When Dilsey was sick in her cabin and Nancy was cooking for us, we could see her apron swelling out; that was before father told Jesus to stay away from the house. Jesus was in the kitchen, sitting behind the stove, with his razor scar on his black face like a piece of dirty string. He said it was a watermelon that Nancy had under her dress.

“It never come off of your vine, though,” Nancy said.

“Off of what vine?” Caddy said.

“I can cut down the vine it did come off of,” Jesus said.

“What makes you want to talk like that before these chillen,” Nancy said […]

“I can’t hang around white man's kitchen,” Jesus said. “But white man can hang around mine.”

Related Characters: Quentin Compson (speaker), Nancy (speaker), Caddy Compson (speaker), Jesus (speaker), Mr. Compson, Dilsey
Page Number: 292
Explanation and Analysis:

“You'll leave me alone, to take Nancy home?” mother said. “Is her safety more precious to you than mine!”

“I won’t be long," father said.

“You'll leave these children unprotected, with that Negro about?”

“I'm going too," Caddy said. “Let me go, Father.”

“What would he do with them, if he were unfortunate enough to have them?" father said.

“I want to go, too,” Jason said.

“Jason!” mother said. She was speaking to father. You could tell that by the way she said the name. Like she believed that all day father had been trying to think of doing the thing she wouldn't like the most and that she knew all the time that after a while he would think of it.

Related Characters: Quentin Compson (speaker), Caddy Compson (speaker), Jason Compson (speaker), Mr. Compson (speaker), Mrs. Compson (speaker), Nancy , Jesus
Page Number: 294
Explanation and Analysis:

“Well, he's gone now,” father said.

“There's nothing for you to be afraid of now. And if you'd just let white men alone.”

“Let what white men alone?” Caddy said. “How let them alone?”

“He aint gone nowhere," Nancy said. "I can feel him. I can feel him now, in this lane. He hearing us talk, every word, hid somewhere, waiting. I aint seen him, and I aint going to see him again but once more, with that razor in his mouth. That razor on that string down his back, inside his shirt. And then I aint going to be even surprised.”

Related Characters: Quentin Compson (speaker), Nancy (speaker), Caddy Compson (speaker), Mr. Compson (speaker), Jason Compson, Jesus
Page Number: 294
Explanation and Analysis:

The floor was cold. Our toes curled away from it while we listened to the sound. It was like singing and it wasn't like singing like the sounds that Negroes make. Then it stopped and we heard father going down the back stairs, and we went to the head of the stairs. Then the sound began again, in the stairway, not loud, and we could see Nancy's eyes halfway up the stairs, against the wall. They looked like cat's eyes do, like a big cat against the wall, watching us.

Related Characters: Quentin Compson (speaker), Nancy , Caddy Compson, Jesus
Page Number: 296
Explanation and Analysis:

Nancy whispered something. It was oh or no, I don’t know which. Like nobody had made it, like it came from nowhere and went nowhere, until it was like Nancy was not there at all; that I had looked so hard at her eyes on the stairs that they had got printed on my eyeballs, like the sun does when you have closed your eyes and there is no sun. “Jesus,” Nancy whispered. “Jesus.” “Was it Jesus?” Caddy said. “Did he try to come into the kitchen?” “Jesus” Nancy said. Like this: Jeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeesus, until the sound went out like a match or a candle does.

Related Characters: Quentin Compson (speaker), Nancy (speaker), Caddy Compson (speaker), Jesus
Related Symbols: Darkness
Page Number: 296
Explanation and Analysis:

“Hush,” Nancy said. She was talking loud when we crossed the ditch and stooped through the fence where she used to stoop through with the clothes on her head. Then we came to her house. We were going fast then. She opened the door. The smell of the house was like the lamp and the smell of Nancy was like the wick, like they were waiting for one another to begin to smell. She lit the lamp and closed the door and put the bar up. Then she quit talking loud, looking at us […] There was something about Nancy's house; something you could smell besides Nancy and the house. Jason smelled it, even. “I don't want to stay here,” he said.

Related Characters: Quentin Compson (speaker), Nancy (speaker), Jason Compson (speaker), Caddy Compson, Jesus
Related Symbols: The Ditch
Page Number: 302
Explanation and Analysis:

She came and sat in a chair before the hearth. There was a little fire there. Nancy built it up, when it was already hot inside. She built a good blaze. She told a story. She talked like her eyes looked, like her eyes watching us and her voice talking to us did not belong to her. Like she was, living somewhere else, waiting somewhere else. She was outside the cabin. Her voice was inside and the shape of her, the Nancy that could stoop under a barbed wire fence with a bundle of clothes balanced on her head as though without weight, like a balloon, was there. But that was all.

Related Characters: Quentin Compson (speaker), Nancy , Caddy Compson, Jason Compson, Jesus
Related Symbols: Darkness
Page Number: 302
Explanation and Analysis:

We left her sitting before the fire. “Come and put the bar up,” father said. But she didn't move. She didn't look at us again, sitting quietly there between the lamp and the fire. From some distance down the lane we could look back and see her through the open door. “What, Father?” Caddy said. “What’s going to happen?” “Nothing,” father said. Jason was on father's back, so Jason was the tallest of all of us. We went down into the ditch. I looked at it, quiet. I couldn't see much where the moonlight and the shadows tangled. “If Jesus is hid here, he can see us, cant he?” Caddy said. “He's not there,” father said. “He went away a long time ago.”

Related Characters: Quentin Compson (speaker), Caddy Compson (speaker), Mr. Compson (speaker), Nancy , Jason Compson, Jesus
Related Symbols: The Ditch, Darkness
Page Number: 309
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire That Evening Sun LitChart as a printable PDF.
That Evening Sun PDF

Jesus Character Timeline in That Evening Sun

The timeline below shows where the character Jesus appears in That Evening Sun. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
That Evening Sun
Racism and Segregation Theme Icon
Fear and Vulnerability Theme Icon
...the washer women’s husbands would help their wives by fetching the clothes for them, but Jesus, Nancy’s husband, never did—“even before” Mr. Compson, Quentin’s father, told Jesus to stay away from... (full context)
Racism and Segregation Theme Icon
Naivety, Ignorance, and Nostalgia Theme Icon
...not cross the ditch however, because Mr. Compson had warned them to stay away from Jesus, who lived with Nancy. He recalls a memory from the past, in which the children... (full context)
Racism and Segregation Theme Icon
Naivety, Ignorance, and Nostalgia Theme Icon
Fear and Vulnerability Theme Icon
...when she is cooking for them because Dilsey is sick. This is “before father told Jesus to stay away from the house,” Quentin notes, and as such Jesus is sitting in... (full context)
Racism and Segregation Theme Icon
Fear and Vulnerability Theme Icon
...a long time, so Nancy continues to cook for the family, and Mr. Compson tells Jesus to stay away from the house. One evening, after supper, Mrs. Compson remarks that Nancy... (full context)
Racism and Segregation Theme Icon
Naivety, Ignorance, and Nostalgia Theme Icon
Fear and Vulnerability Theme Icon
...to see what is wrong with Nancy. Caddy suggests that she might be waiting for Jesus to come and get her, but Quentin says that Jesus has left town. Jason thinks... (full context)
Racism and Segregation Theme Icon
Naivety, Ignorance, and Nostalgia Theme Icon
Fear and Vulnerability Theme Icon
...returns and says that he is going to walk Nancy home because Nancy thinks that Jesus has come back to town. Mrs. Compson asks if Nancy has seen Jesus, but Mr.... (full context)
Racism and Segregation Theme Icon
Fear and Vulnerability Theme Icon
...Compson asks Nancy if she can stay with Aunt Rachel, who sometimes claims to be Jesus’s mother yet also sometimes says she isn’t “kin” to him. Caddy teases Jason about being... (full context)
Racism and Segregation Theme Icon
Naivety, Ignorance, and Nostalgia Theme Icon
Fear and Vulnerability Theme Icon
While the children argue, Mr. Compson tries to reassure Nancy that Jesus is gone. Nancy replies that Jesus told her that “she done woke up the devil... (full context)
Racism and Segregation Theme Icon
Fear and Vulnerability Theme Icon
...what made her afraid and what she saw in the kitchen, wondering whether she saw Jesus trying to get in. Nancy whispers something but, in the dark, it seems as though... (full context)
Racism and Segregation Theme Icon
Fear and Vulnerability Theme Icon
...comes into the kitchen after it gets dark. Dilsey asks Nancy how she knows that Jesus has come back. Jason, who is also in the kitchen, says that “Jesus is a... (full context)
Racism and Segregation Theme Icon
Fear and Vulnerability Theme Icon
...and Dilsey says that Nancy can sleep in her house if she is afraid of Jesus. Nancy turns this offer down though because she says that “no nigger” will stop Jesus. (full context)
Racism and Segregation Theme Icon
Naivety, Ignorance, and Nostalgia Theme Icon
Fear and Vulnerability Theme Icon
...have Negroes sleeping in the bedrooms.” Caddy asks Mrs. Compson why Nancy is afraid of Jesus and if Mrs. Compson is afraid of Mr. Compson. Jason starts to cry and says... (full context)
Racism and Segregation Theme Icon
Naivety, Ignorance, and Nostalgia Theme Icon
...tells Nancy what Mr. Compson has said and asks what Nancy has done to make Jesus mad. Nancy drops her cup and begins making “the sound” again, before asking the children... (full context)
Racism and Segregation Theme Icon
Naivety, Ignorance, and Nostalgia Theme Icon
Fear and Vulnerability Theme Icon
...Aunt Rachel. He says that he has checked the ditch outside Nancy’s cabin, and that Jesus is not there. Nancy says she knows Jesus is there because she received a sign... (full context)
Racism and Segregation Theme Icon
Naivety, Ignorance, and Nostalgia Theme Icon
Fear and Vulnerability Theme Icon
Caddy asks if Jesus is watching them from the ditch, but Mr. Compson says that Jesus is gone. Jason... (full context)